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Mike Nesbitt Named Head Football Coach At OUAZ
– OUAZ Director of Athletics, Kevin Steele, is pleased to announce the hiring of Mike Nesbitt as the head football coach for the Ottawa Spirit as its new residential campus in Surprise, Arizona.
“Mike (Nesbitt) has been on my radar since our brief time together back at Blinn College in 2005,” said OUAZ Director of Athletics Kevin Steele. “Mike is a leader who understands how important it is to model character and not just talk about it. He is one of the great offensive football minds in the country as his resume so clearly suggests, yet he is much more than that. He brings a love and toughness to the office each day which serves him well, as builds young men into human beings who will lead in society as role models.”
Steele continued, “His impact on his student-athletes’ lives will play itself out in years to come, as his graduates become great friends, husbands, fathers, and impactful players in society. He is a winner and brings a wealth of knowledge and great freshness to the game of football and life. His Spirit football program will be a pleasure to be a part of and fans in Arizona will not want to miss a game.”
Coach Nesbitt brings over 20 years of coaching experience to OUAZ. He comes to the university from West Texas A&M University, where he served as head football coach for four seasons. Nesbitt restructured and molded their program with athletes and coaches who possessed strong character, great values and outstanding leadership skills. He sought out recruits who were outstanding young people from all across the country. Under Nesbitt’s direction, the football program had the highest team GPA ever in school history. Nesbitt had winning records in all four of his years at West Texas A&M, compiling a 25-17 overall mark. His continued desire and commitment to building a complete football program is always his top priority.
“I am very honored to be a part of OUAZ,” said coach Nesbitt. “Ottawa University has 152 years of history and excellence, which I am proud to represent. My family and I are very blessed to be a part of a university and athletic program with such outstanding leadership and a boundless vision for academic and athletic success.”
Nesbitt continued, “The foundation of our football program will be structured around individuals with great character and a strong commitment to excellence; both on and off the field. We will mirror the mission statement at OUAZ, as it goes hand in hand with developing great young men. I believe in creating a strong family environment for our players, because it is essential to their success as college athletes. This setting brings us closer when we all share the same last name; that being OUAZ Spirit Football. We are proud to be a part of this great community of Surprise, and I couldn’t be more excited for the future of our football team.”
Coach Nesbitt returned to the West Texas A&M football program in 2013 as the assistant head coach and offensive line coach, along with taking over the special teams’ coordinator duties for the Buffaloes. Prior to the 2013 season, Nesbitt was elevated to interim head coach and guided the Buffaloes to an 11-3 season and a berth in the NCAA quarterfinals. Nesbitt's interim tag was removed following the season. The Buffs earned their second-straight NCAA playoff appearance in 2013 and seventh in school history; as senior quarterback Dustin Vaughan (Baltimore Ravens) threw for 5,401 yards and 53 touchdown passes in 2013 and finished as the 2013 Harlon Hill runner-up. Vaughan was the only quarterback at any level to throw for over 5,000 yards, and his 5,401 yards are the most all-time in NCAA Division II. His 53 touchdown passes were the third-most all-time in Division II. Under Nesbitt’s guidance, the Buffs finished eighth nationally in the final AFCA Coaches’ Poll.
In 2011, Nesbitt assumed the role of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Stephen F. Austin State University. The Lumberjacks completed their season ranked 9th in total offense and 6th in passing. Sophomore QB, Brady Attaway completed his season ranked 7th in the nation in passing and 10th overall in passing yards with an average of 289.18 per game.
In 2010, after returning to West Texas A&M University, the offensive unit completed their season ranked second in the nation in total offense under the direction of Mike Nesbitt as offensive coordinator and QB coach. Out of 12 games and 920 plays, they accumulated 6348 yards with an average of 6.9 yards per play and a total yards average per game of 529. The passing offense, led by senior Taylor Harris, threw for 5075 yards with 40 touchdowns and also finished 2nd in the nation.
No stranger to championship-caliber football, Nesbitt was the offensive/recruiting coordinator for Blinn College in Brehnam, Texas. During his two seasons at Blinn, he helped the Buccaneers post an impressive 19-3 record that included the 2006 NJCAA National Championship. During that 2006 championship season, the Buccaneer offense finished 10th nationally in total offense, averaging 352.6 yards per game. In his two years at Blinn College, Nesbitt coached 10 players to All-Conference honors with two earning All-America accolades.
Before his move to Brenham, Nesbitt was the offensive line, running backs and kicking coach at Howard Payne University. During his four seasons with the Yellow Jackets, the team recorded a 30-10 mark and its offense ranked among the top unit in both the American Southwest Conference and within the country. Six players earned All-Conference honors, while one of the teams’ kickers garnered All-America praise under Nesbitt’s guidance at Howard Payne. His other coaching experience includes a stint at Western New Mexico University, where he was the quarterbacks, wide receivers and special teams coach. In addition, Nesbitt has been a head high school football coach at both the 5A and 4A levels in New Mexico.
As a player, Nesbitt lettered for the University of New Mexico, where he served as punter from 1991-1993. Among his playing accolades, is a single season punting average of 45.0; ranking third in the nation that year and placing second in the UNM record books. In addition, Nesbitt led the nation in net punting as a senior with an average of 41.9 yards per kick. Mike Nesbitt was honored as the 1993 Male Athlete of the Year by the Albuquerque Sports Hall of Fame, in addition to earning second team All-WAC attention. After concluding his collegiate career at UNM, Nesbitt spent time in the NFL as a punter with the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings organizations. He then returned to UNM where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1996.
Mike and his wife of 23 years; Camille Aragon-Nesbitt, have one son Gavin who will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in media broadcast journalism, from West Texas A&M in December.
For more information about OUAZ athletics, visit http://www.ottawa.edu/ouaz/athletics
. Follow OUAZ athletics on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/OUAZSpiritAthletics/
and on Twitter twitter.com/OUAZSpirit
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About Ottawa University
Founded in 1865, Ottawa University prepares professional and liberal arts graduates for lifetimes of personal significance, vocational fulfillment and service to God and humanity as a Christ-inspired community of grace and opening inquiry. Ottawa University is a comprehensive, not-for-profit educational institution serving more than 4,000 students through its residential campuses in Ottawa, Kan., and Surprise, Ariz. (opening Fall 2017), and adult campuses in Overland Park, Kan.; Phoenix, Queen Creek and Surprise, Ariz.; Brookfield, Wis.; Jeffersonville, Ind.; and online. For more information, visit www.ottawa.edu.